Updated: March 8, 2021
A Nigerian man who tried to fly with $375000 cash concealed in a bag has been ordered by a judge to pay $550 fine or go to jail for two years.
Justice Z.B. Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna found Rabiu Mohammed Ahmad guilty as charged.
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In his ruling, Justice Abubakar convicted him and sentenced him to two years in prison with an option of N200,000 or about $550.
In line with the relevant laws, he was also ordered to forfeit 15 per cent of the undeclared funds to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC , had arraigned him on a one-count charge bordering on non-declaration of currency.
He first pleaded “not guilty” to the charge then sought a plea bargain.
Ahmad was arrested by officers of the Intelligence Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service at the Kaduna International Airport on March 3, 2018.
The officers while on duty intercepted a bag containing $375,000 cash belonging passenger Rabiu Mohammed at the departure hall of the Kaduna International Airport.
After preliminary investigation, the case was transferred to the EFCC, Kaduna Zonal Office for further investigation.
The suspect was first arraigned on March 20, 2018 for non-declaration of the said $375,000.
Ahmad was taking the $375,000 cash concealed in a bag from Nigeria to United Arab Emirate (UAE) onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight Number ETO 941.
He did not declare the huge amount of money to the Nigerian Customs Service as required under the law.
The EFCC presented three witnesses to testify before the Court. However, before their testimony could be heard, the defence filed an application for a plea bargain.
At the resume hearing on Thursday, March 14, 2019, the defence counsel, Husseini Abdu, informed the court the defendant had changed his plea to “guilty”.
An application for a plea bargain was also brought before the court, which was granted by the trial judge.
Prosecuting Counsel, S.H. Sa’ad, thereafter, reviewed the facts as contained in the charge and tendered seven exhibits and urged the court to convict him based on the exhibits tendered and his guilty plea.